Wednesday, November 22, 2006


    >> 4:50 PM

"A day without Depeche Mode is a day wasted." -- local radio dj

    >> 4:33 PM

Hmmm. Tomorrow is Turkey Day already. What have I been doing all November?

    >> 7:29 AM

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

This morning, I saw the postman wearing shorts. It's a heatwave up here!

I've whiled away the afternoon without getting much work done. I got to campus in time for the luncheon meeting I had to attend, only to be waylaid by three students (two current, one possible future student interested in the Asian American literature course I'm teaching next semester). I got to the lunch late, ate a moderately better vegetarian meal (the last time they had plain white rice and vegetable lo mein which was essentially plain, unflavored noodles), and then came back to my office. I met with a couple students in the past two hours and ordered a book via interlibrary loan but have done no reading, grading, or lesson planning as I had hoped to do.

In a half hour I am interviewing an applicant to my alma mater.


That's about it.

    >> 4:04 PM

Monday, November 20, 2006

I don't know if I'm more turned off by Tim Wu's disparagement of Raku, one of my favorite pan-Asian restaurants, or his ascribing of innate characteristics to various ethnic groups (Cantonese are "clever" and Koreans are "intransigent") in his article, ["It's time for a dumpling revolution"]. I mean, yes, there are definitely dumplings that are yummier than others, but he doesn't have to make his argument about improving the quality of American dumplings the way he does.

    >> 11:36 AM

[UCLA plans outside investigation....] An update on the UCLA incident. Sigh. If you watch the video, you can see that there are dozens of students in the library at the time. I wonder how many of them were asked for identification. Of course, it is one of those situations that could have been avoided if the student had provided identification upon request. Or if he had left quickly upon request. But why should he have been asked to do either is the big question.

    >> 10:50 AM

[This post] has a pretty awesome picture of a doggie munching on a baby's feet.

I am eating dark chocolate M&M's and drinking coffee this morning. I get to sit in my office all day talking to students one-on-one. I rue the day pedagogues in English studies decided conferences were a good idea though of course I agree.

    >> 10:40 AM

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Holy shit: [Community responds to Taser use in Powell]. A UCLA student gets stunned by police with a Taser multiple times. The article has a link to video footage of the incident.

    >> 1:59 PM


Oblivious to the dog's demands.

The Dairy Queen across the street.

    >> 1:35 PM

Oh woe is me. I can't stop sneezing. Is this the onset of a cold or something else?

    >> 12:29 PM

Saturday, November 18, 2006

"I thought I told you no more coffee shops!"

    >> 10:55 AM

It just occurred to me this morning while I was lying in bed, pre-physically getting up, as yesterday's thoughts bounced around in my head, that there already is a gender-neutral, singular pronoun. Duh. "It." It seems like people are loathe to use it when describing humans because of the necessity of ascribing gender to persons. (Witness the difficulty people have in pronouning trans people.) But why not? How did our (American? what do people in other English-speaking countries do? in other languages?) collective brain decide that "they" would be better than "it"? I would much prefer the sentence, "The student walked home alone even though it was afraid of the dark." It has a creepy ring to it. Plus, people have no compunctions referring to animals as "it" even if they have male and female forms. It's as if gender is a particularly human quality.

But really, I'm not advocating the use of "it" in these situations. My simple solution has always been to use the female pronoun form. Because women rock way more than men do.

    >> 9:42 AM

Friday, November 17, 2006

At the restroom of the church (concert venue).

The concert was wonderful. I loved how the orchestra breathed together and how the conductor seemed to be dancing with the sounds that came out of the instruments. The performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 was especially exciting. My favorite moment in the piece, played to perfection by the orchestra and pianist, is the transition from the second to the third movement, when the melody hovers softly and sustains this almost unbearable tension before the piano crashes into the playful rush of the opening measures of the third movement. Unfortunately, but only slightly, the pianist flubbed the middle chords in that opening run. His performance was delightful and playful otherwise.

After the concert, I waited around twenty minutes for the cars to clear out of the parking lot. I hate dealing with traffic of any sort, especially when there are also pedestrians involved. The drive only took 25 minutes each way. I guess the Twin Cities metro area really is quite compact. This church was two suburbs out of Minneapolis in Eden Prairie, but really 25 minutes is nothing when it comes to travel time in major cities. I'd definitely make the trip again for another concert.

. . .

[Cat-dog a reality?]

    >> 10:52 PM

Today I had a moment of feeling like an old fuddy-duddy who wants hard-and-fast grammar rules. Most of my students are spelling the possessive case of singular James as "James'." It just looks wrong to me, though. I think virtually all singular nouns in the possessive case should be made so with an 's (i.e., James's). But it seems that this is one of those cases where there is variation in style sheets. And some styles allow singular nouns ending in "s" to be made into the possessive case with a simple apostrophe rather than the apostrophe plus "s." Grrr.

At least that doesn't irk me as much as the use of "they" as a gender-neutral, singular pronoun (or "their" for the possessive case).

And now I am off to venture into the deep suburbs (Eden Prairie) for a Beethoven concert by the [Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra]. I hope I don't get horribly lost.

    >> 6:37 PM

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Today was full of disappointments. Well, this morning was fine. The dog park visit, a trek to campus to meet with a student, a talk by a colleague on representations of Victorian women in the British Medical Journal, and meeting the director of Women's Studies at my campus -- these things were all good. But then I left campus and somehow started hating everyone.

I first checked out Common Ground Books, the new bookstore opened by Garrison Keillor. The store was cool but really tiny. I didn't browse long. I went upstairs to Nina's Coffee, and I think that's where my mood shifted dramatically. My experience there was perhaps colored by my coming across [this review] of the place before going. The baristas were somewhat incompetent, taking a long time to make my latte and filling the orders of people who came after me first. They also gave me an overflowing mug (easily solvable by dumping out some coffee before handing it to me) which I then proceeded to dribble all over the coffee shop out of spite. I am quite mean-hearted, and I hate that about myself. As I sat there drinking my latte, a man with an annoying voice sat nearby talking out loud to himself. I wanted to kick him.

And then it was off to the U of M campus for a lecture by Adrian Piper. As I was driving to Minneapolis, I was thwarted at every turn, on every block, by a number of annoyances like the squadron of school buses discharging their passengers, the people in parked cars along the road swinging their car doors WIDE open into the lane, pedestrians blocking traffic for no apparent reason, broken-down cars in the middle of the road, and so on. I finally got to the U and parked next to the building for Adrian Piper's lecture. I got there a half hour early, and already the room was beginning to fill up. By a quarter till the starting time, the room was overpacked (I wanted to call the fire marshall), and the organizers were vainly still trying to squeeze more people in though the crowd straining at the doors was clearly far too large. At half past the starting time, the room already heated up too much with all those pressed-together-bodies, the organizer announced that we were all going to move to another space across campus. We trekked over. The room was a dining hall with horrible sight lines to the screen.

And then Adrian Piper was disappointing. Her presentation was called, "Passing Beyond Passing," but the work she presented was nothing new. She showed a few video clips -- the Rodney King beating video with a Marvin Gaye song and some audio clips of Bush sending in the National Guard; one video loop of children dancing in front of a store with three Billie Holiday songs playing; the video installation of Piper addressing a white viewer about passing; and six clips from Hollywood movies with characters who variously deal with the issue of passing and being black -- and then read for awhile from a piece about blackness that reiterated her decades-old video installation piece's argument about white privilege and the stakes of inadvertently passing as white. I hoped that she might address some things like growing movements of multiracial identifications or cross-racial solidarities (not that new as an idea, really). But she didn't. And from the Q&A session, it seems like she really just doesn't care to consider changes in conceptions of "passing" in the past couple of decades. She just keeps forcing everything into a black-white system with no nuances (one of her points is that all other non-white groups quickly become white in the American racial hierarchy).

And then I went downstairs to the U's bookstore only to find it closed. In despair, I had to get myself another latte even though I had already had two coffees earlier.

And then because of all the delays, I ended up having to pay $8 for parking instead of $4. Grrrr.

But now I'm home. And it's warm and comfortable inside.

    >> 7:18 PM

Giles trees a squirrel.

This morning, we took our morning constitutional at the dog park. Or, more accurately, I took a walk around the park while Giles did his best impression of hell on wheels, limbs all helter-skelter as he dashed around at top speed. We entered the park with a pug named Rupert. Rupert was quite confused about what this thing was that kept dashing by him. Giles was a good, spazzy puppy. He didn't try to fight any dogs. His hackles went up a bit when he was surrounded by a couple of big dogs. But I called for him, and he came running towards me away from them. Giles was a little slow following me to the gate when I was ready to leave. He wanted to stay for sure. But he did follow me to the gate and sit to let me put the leash on him. When we got home, I gave him a dental stick treat. He ate it before I left the apartment, which was not really the way it's supposed to work. Also, he gobbles those things without really chewing, which is really not how he should be eating them. Oh wells.

Giles licks his lips.

    >> 10:54 AM